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Root Canals

Root canal pain before eating



I had a root canal done on April 25, 2006, the problem I`m having is that the tooth is more sentive now then it was before I had the work done and to mind you that there was NO PAIN at all before the root canal. When I talk or chew anything its so painful I`m actually feeling sick to my stomach. what is happening with this. Any advice would help. Thank you.


Without knowing more about your case I can only speculate on the problem.  I would guess that the nerve of the tooth was dead before you had the root canal started.  That is why there was little or no pain.  However, there was probably an abscess or some change seen on the x-ray of the tooth (your immune system's reaction to the dead tissue in the tooth) and that was the reason for the root canal . 

Teeth like these are often pain-free. However that does not mean that something is not going on.  Your immune system has gotten the "infection" under control, but by doing this it is slowly destroying bone around the tooth (chronic inflammation). When the dentist cleaned out your tooth, the irritation of the work set your immune system into high gear (it was all primed to do this before the work) and that is what you are feeling now (acute inflammation). 

Unfortunately there is nothing the dentists could have done to prevent this from happening.  Your immune system was ready to clear things up and the start of the root canal just got things rolling. 

The unfortunate thing is that it does not happen to everyone (only about 5-10% of cases), but fortunately things will improve in a few days. Be sure to let your dentist know what has happened so he/she can prescribe you the appropriate medications and be sure to get the root canal finished and the tooth restored or you may have more severe problems in the future.

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Response by:

John M Nusstein, DDS John M Nusstein, DDS
Associate Professor of Endodontics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University